Obama Leads Romney, Santorum by Double Digits
President's approval rating shoots to 53%
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 27, 2012 9:56 AM CST
President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives to announce the revamp of his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control, during a statement, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012,...   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – President Obama's approval rating has jumped 9 percentage points over four months to 53%, and he's posting double-digit leads over his top Republican opponents, a poll finds. Obama leads Mitt Romney by 10 points, 53% to 43%, and Rick Santorum by 11 points, 53% to 42%. Competing against a generic Republican, Obama comes out on top by 5 points; that hypothetical contest was tied in November, Politico notes.

It's a bad sign for Republicans: "We’ve not been talking about which would do a better job of running against Obama. We’ve been talking about who is the most or who is the least conservative," says a GOP pollster. Things aren't looking good for Romney among independents, either: Just 33% take a positive view of him, and Obama leads Romney among independent voters 49% to 27%. Just a third of Americans say the country is on the right track, which isn't great news for Obama—but that's double the number who were optimistic in November.